________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 24. . . .February 26, 2016


The Knight’s Enemies. (Warrior Heroes).

Benjamin Hulme-Cross. Illustrated by Angelo Rinaldi.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2015.
157 pp., pbk. & hc., $13.95 (pbk.), $23.96 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-1769-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-1765-2 (RLB).

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Janice Foster.

*** /4


Then, through the still evening air came a creak and a whir as the arm of one enemy trebuchet swung up and over. Something shot up from the catapult, sailing high through the air, and crossing the divide between the attackers and defenders. Finn noticed with a sick feeling that whatever it was appeared to have arms and legs.


Benjamin Hulme-Cross’ “Warrior Heroes” series combines time travel, history and ghosts into action-filled adventures. The engaging narrative style and fast pace are designed to appeal to struggling and reluctant readers, but the subject matter will attract a wider audience in the intended age group.

     In the “Warrior Heroes” series, readers are introduced to legendary historical periods by travelling back in time with brothers Arthur and Finn. The same introduction is used for each title in the series. It explains the Hall of Heroes that is their great-grandfather’s museum about warriors throughout history. The museum is haunted by the ghosts of these ancient warriors who are trapped inside until a grave wrong has been resolved. If the ghost of one of these warriors touches either Arthur or Finn, they are transported back to that period in history to fix the problem. And so the adventures begin.

     In The Knight’s Enemies, Arthur and Finn are transported to the fifth or sixth century in England to participate in the siege of a castle. Sir William Mallory needs the brothers to save his daughter Eleanor from John the Withered, the attacker of Wroxley Castle. Mallory haunts the museum because he was unable to save Eleanor himself, and she was killed by the cruel aggressor. The brothers have separate roles to play in the adventure and face life-threatening dangers as the story unfolds. The reader is continuously drawn into the narrative to see if the boys will be successful in meeting the challenge of altering Eleanor’s fate.

     The combination of the historical drama of medieval times and a time travel adventure makes The Knight’s Enemies an exciting reading experience. Some of the historical terminology and perspectives may be unfamiliar to readers in this age group. The inclusion of three separate “excerpts from Warrior Heroes by Finn Blade” that are interspersed within the story provide the audience with background information on specific topics, such as castle sieges, defending a castle and medieval weapons. The narration and dialogue connect the reader to the key characters. With the novel’s manageable reading level and fast pace, even reluctant and struggling readers can become engrossed in the excitement and action of the adventure. The black and white illustrations by Angelo Rinaldi also add interest to the story.

     The Knight’s Enemies is action-packed and has a reasonable length and a manageable readability. These are important features to motivate reluctant or struggling readers. Some of the historical content in the story might be confusing. Providing nonfiction books on knights and medieval castles that have strong visuals will both support the understanding of the historical content and will expand the reader’s knowledge and interest in this period. The ending seems a bit hurried as if the final pieces of the adventure needed to be tied up. However, this might just draw the reader into asking for more books in the series.


Janice Foster is a retired teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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